The Plain Error Exception

  1. militarylawyers926K8862015Failure to object does not waive plain error. United States v. Fisher , 21 M.J. 327 (C.M.A. 1986); United States v. Williams , 23 M.J. 776 (A.C.M.R. 1987). See also United States v. Young , 470 U.S. 1 (1985).
  2. In order to constitute plain error, the error must:
    1. Be obvious and substantial; and
    2. Have had an unfair prejudicial impact. Sentencing Argument (Art and Law)
  3. In some circumstances, prejudice is not necessary. United States v. Thompson , 37 M.J. 1023, (A.C.M.R. 1993). Trial counsel’s racist sentencing argument was found to be plain error, despite the fact that it did not prejudice the accused’s sentence.